So here we are. The final (for the time being) performances of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart as James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine and Professor Charles Xavier, respectively. Logan sees the two characters in the not so distant future where mutants are an endangered species. Logan’s age has finally caught up with him as his super healing has diminished and so he is not only suffering from old age but also poisoning from his adamantium skeleton. Xavier is also suffering from Alzheimer’s and epilepsy and when you’re the world’s strongest telepath, this is not a good thing. So the two are living near the border of Mexico along with mutant tracker Caliban as Logan works as a chauffeur to scrounge up enough money to sail off on a boat and die in peace. But that all changes when a woman shows up with a young girl and tasks Logan with taking her to a so called Eden to avoid some nefarious forces.
Much has been said about the R rating and this movie definitely embraces that rating. We have seen Logan stab and maim people throughout the movies but there have always been tricks to not appear as brutal as it should be. Not so here, as from the opening scene we see what type of movie this is going to be. But while the excess of violence make seem gratuitous but it does serve a purpose. Logan is at the end of his rope. He is really not trying to be a killer anymore but forces keep drawing that side out of him. But on his last legs can he once again channel that rage and violence into something positive?
Hugh Jackman gives his best performance as the pseudo immortal warrior. We see Logan completelt broken and a shell of his former self. Suffering from poisoning, old age, covered in scars and wounds and drowning himself in alcohol. This is the lowest we’ve seen Logan since the start of the X-Men films in 2000. So when Logan is tasked with taking charge of Laura aka X23 who is his clone/daughter, we see another side of Logan. Someone who reluctantly takes charge of getting her to safety while also struggling with the fact that he has a daughter. A child that he clearly did not want for various reasons. Jackman plays the complicated Logan to perfection here as we see him at his most compassionate, violent and asshole. If this truly is Jackman’s last performance as the character than he has gone out on a high note.
Patrick Stewart also does an excellent job and probably his best performance as Xavier. Xavier is also a shell of his former self. Suffering from various mental ailments, Xavier is able to cut loose more. He is downright cruel in certain scenes. It is probably one of the most heartbreaking performances. Seeing a loved one go through similar effects brought pack some memories that are hard not to make you get emotional. Dafne Keen as Laura is a standout and with little to actually do. For most of the movie she is silent but she is able to sell looks that convey her emotions and what she is going through. Since she is a clone of Logan, there are strong similarities between them.
There are only two quibbles that I have with the movie. The beginning of the movie seems to embrace its R rating a little too much when it comes to language. It just seems like kids when their parents aren’t around and they are able to swear. Also the villains leave a little bit to be desired. Boyd Holdbrook as Donald Pierce is good with what he’s given but they really didn’t do much with the character. Just why exactly was he and the rest of the Reavers, cyborgs? Nothing was really done with that aspect. Richard E. Grant as Dr. Zandar Rice is hardly in the movie and just as forgettable.
This is arguably a movie that the superhero genre needed at the moment. It shows that with the glut of superhero movies being released, there is no need for all of them to deal with world ending catastrophic events. That it is okay to reign everything in and tell more intimate stories and delve more into the characters. Deadpool also did the same thing similar last year. If this is the niche that the X-Men movie universe is falling into, then it is a fine one to help create its own mark. As Logan goes, it is a fitting farewell from Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and director/writer James Mangold. A triumph of a film.